Monthly Archives: October 2011

Steady As She Goes

It was a toss up between that and, Kick It In The Ass, but Steady As She Goes won out,

Payroll employment is still 4.8% below the pre-recession peak.

This shows that the recovery in all indicators has been very sluggish compared to recent recessions.

Even if, as we all acknowledge, that Republicans are purposely hindering the economy to sabotage Obama , it has still shown surprising resilience in spite of their fiddling while the homeland burns.

Since I may not post a lot today, Mill had an interesting take on Mormonism didn’t he? I do wonder how he thinks society can enforce that which it has no contract to do, but that aside, still a very impressive essay. I suppose years of internet exposure may have taken some of the sting out of criticism of orthodox Christianity, which for the most part is accurate and should have spurred the orthodox on to better internalization of the faith, which it didn’t, which I think lends more credence to the main thrust of the entire.

They Never Write, They Never Call

Pseudonymousity has its’ perks. This of course is hilarious,

One basic characteristic of journalism is this: its content is not bought and paid for and directed by an advertiser. It might be vapid. It might be poorly written. It might be damn near worthless. But it’s not an advertisement.

Infallibility rears its’ fallible head, YA! The shady scheme part is interesting however.

I can understand the need of some for revenue to keep the blog going, pay bills etc, and I definitely understand the need for multiple contributors to other blogs. It really can chew up an inordinate amount of time and effort reading the aforementioned journalists along with that all to rare, thinking about stuff, which puts some bloggers into the realm of garden gnome activity.

All I can assure my readers of, is that whatever ideas you read here have been legitimately lifted from other writers, and the snark is genuine creativity, unless it is stolen from the archives of TBogg.

The Best, IMO, Reads Today

via The Economist’s View, a hard look at television and of all things, a blog post! (yes, it is an inside joke,) Dear tea party, we are not your enemy,

I’m not going to lie to you. I’ve said bad things about the tea party. Lots of bad things. I’ve been snide. I’ve been demeaning. It’s hard not to be when the term “tea party” has most often been associated with the radical fringe of the Republican Party, with folks who seem more interested in attacking science than fixing the economy, with those who seem to believe that their taxes have been raised (they haven’t) that there are thousands of new regulations burdening businesses (there aren’t) and that President Obama is in some kind of anti-American radical (he’s not) who wrecked the economy (check your calendar).

But several people have told me that those people, the ones sponsoring the rigidly ideological debates, the ones that cheered for a congressman shouting “you lie!” during the State of the Union address, the ones with the signs where Obama is dressed up like a witchdoctor or smeared with Joker paint… that those people aren’t the real tea party. Not the real, grassroots local folks who came out to protest what they saw as a failing government. Not the people who, like the folks at Occupy Wall Street, came out to raise their voices about injustice and unequal treatment.

As an aside, there really is a level of hostility that has been reached between the blogs, well this blog, and the national media that is not conducive to civil discourse, and I probably crapped on Peggy Noonan more out of habit than necessity, since what she wrote is something, beside her political spin, that I might have said as well. However the idea that there is some formal process that one must go through to acquire legitimate authenticity of opinion and therefore the right to express it is just pure bullshit too.

How To Dismantle A Kaplan Krayon Scribbler

Bust Social Security or Bust They put it on the front page because birds like colorful pictures too.

Notes On Liberty

Since it seems to have aggravated some that I might quote economic philosophers on economics, especially those too lazy to read any, I thought I might equally prey upon their tender feelings with the less contentious topic of liberty.

John Stuart Mill

But there is a sphere of action in which society, as distinguished from the individual, has, if any, only an indirect interest; comprehending all that portion of a person’s life and conduct which affects only himself, or, if it also affects others, only with their free, voluntary, and undeceived consent and participation. When I say only himself, I mean directly, and in the first instance: for whatever affects himself, may affect others through himself; and the objection which may be grounded on this contingency, will receive consideration in the sequel. This, then, is the appropriate region of human liberty. It comprises, first, the inward domain of consciousness; demanding liberty of conscience, in the most comprehensive sense; liberty of thought and feeling; absolute freedom of opinion and sentiment on all subjects, practical or speculative, scientific, moral, or theological. The liberty of expressing and publishing opinions may seem to fall under a different principle, since it belongs to that part of the conduct of an individual which concerns other people; but, being almost of as much importance as the liberty of thought itself, and resting in great part on the same reasons, is practically inseparable from it. Secondly, the principle requires liberty of tastes and pursuits; of framing the plan of our life to suit our own character; of doing as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow; without impediment from our fellow-creatures, so long as what we do does not harm them even though they should think our conduct foolish, perverse, or wrong. Thirdly, from this liberty of each individual, follows the liberty, within the same limits, of combination among individuals; freedom to unite, for any purpose not involving harm to others: the persons combining being supposed to be of full age, and not forced or deceived.

No society in which these liberties are not, on the whole, respected, is free, whatever may be its form of government; and none is completely free in which they do not exist absolute and unqualified. The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.

Though this doctrine is anything but new, and, to some persons, may have the air of a truism, there is no doctrine which stands more directly opposed to the general tendency of existing opinion and practice. Society has expended fully as much effort in the attempt (according to its lights) to compel people to conform to its notions of personal, as of social excellence. The ancient commonwealths thought themselves entitled to practise, and the ancient philosophers countenanced, the regulation of every part of private conduct by public authority, on the ground that the State had a deep interest in the whole bodily and mental discipline of every one of its citizens, a mode of thinking which may have been admissible in small republics surrounded by powerful enemies, in constant peril of being subverted by foreign attack or internal commotion, and to which even a short interval of relaxed energy and self-command might so easily be fatal, that they could not afford to wait for the salutary permanent effects of freedom. In the modern world, the greater size of political communities, and above all, the separation between the spiritual and temporal authority (which placed the direction of men’s consciences in other hands than those which controlled their worldly affairs), prevented so great an interference by law in the details of private life; but the engines of moral repression have been wielded more strenuously against divergence from the reigning opinion in self-regarding, than even in social matters; religion, the most powerful of the elements which have entered into the formation of moral feeling, having almost always been governed either by the ambition of a hierarchy, seeking control over every department of human conduct, or by the spirit of Puritanism. And some of those modern reformers who have placed themselves in strongest opposition to the religions of the past, have been noway behind either churches or sects in their assertion of the right of spiritual domination: M. Comte, in particular, whose social system, as unfolded in his Traite de Politique Positive, aims at establishing (though by moral more than by legal appliances) a despotism of society over the individual, surpassing anything contemplated in the political ideal of the most rigid disciplinarian among the ancient philosophers.

Apart from the peculiar tenets of individual thinkers, there is also in the world at large an increasing inclination to stretch unduly the powers of society over the individual, both by the force of opinion and even by that of legislation: and as the tendency of all the changes taking place in the world is to strengthen society, and diminish the power of the individual, this encroachment is not one of the evils which tend spontaneously to disappear, but, on the contrary, to grow more and more formidable. The disposition of mankind, whether as rulers or as fellow-citizens, to impose their own opinions and inclinations as a rule of conduct on others, is so energetically supported by some of the best and by some of the worst feelings incident to human nature, that it is hardly ever kept under restraint by anything but want of power; and as the power is not declining, but growing, unless a strong barrier of moral conviction can be raised against the mischief, we must expect, in the present circumstances of the world, to see it increase.

I Don’t Like The Tone Of Your Football

I found both of these articles informative. Liberals are musicians, realists are jocks, and the other, The End of the American Era. Both by Walt.

Schumpeter’s Demise

Accurate as far as it goes,

This belief that New Deal liberalism is obsolete is combined with a belief that good policy-making is inconsistent with democratic institutions—that you need to rely on policy experts operating in good faith in the best interests of the country, without elbows being joggled by cranky neo-populists or nutty movement conservtives. And those experts, who can be found at the highest reaches of successful corporations should be brought into government, because they understand how this new global economy works. These leaders need to be brought into partnership with the US government, and hard-headed, realistic policy crafted, so that the US can continue to be the dominant world power.

but I think the whole story is a little deeper.

Schumpeter’s most popular book in English is probably Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. This book opens with a treatment of Karl Marx. While he is sympathetic to Marx’s theory that capitalism will collapse and will be replaced by socialism, Schumpeter concludes that this will not come about in the way Marx predicted. To describe it he borrowed the phrase “creative destruction”, and made it famous by using it to describe a process in which the old ways of doing things are endogenously destroyed and replaced by new ways.

Schumpeter’s theory is that the success of capitalism will lead to a form of corporatism and a fostering of values hostile to capitalism, especially among intellectuals. The intellectual and social climate needed to allow entrepreneurship to thrive will not exist in advanced capitalism; it will be replaced by socialism in some form. There will not be a revolution, but merely a trend in parliaments to elect social democratic parties of one stripe or another. He argued that capitalism’s collapse from within will come about as democratic majorities vote for restrictions upon entrepreneurship that will burden and destroy the capitalist structure, but also emphasizes non-political, evolutionary processes in society where “liberal capitalism” was evolving into democratic socialism because of the growth of workers’ self-management, industrial democracy and regulatory institutions.[12] Schumpeter emphasizes throughout this book that he is analyzing trends, not engaging in political advocacy. In his vision, the intellectual class will play an important role in capitalism’s demise. The term “intellectuals” denotes a class of persons in a position to develop critiques of societal matters for which they are not directly responsible and able to stand up for the interests of strata to which they themselves do not belong. One of the great advantages of capitalism, he argues, is that as compared with pre-capitalist periods, when education was a privilege of the few, more and more people acquire (higher) education. The availability of fulfilling work is, however, limited, and this lack, coupled with the experience of unemployment, produces discontent. The intellectual class is then able to organize protest and develop critical ideas.

In some respects I think we are working with a variation of the theme, given the code words of various politicians over the last couple of decades.

OWS to some extent is the social response to the economics and the political response to those economics, which may very well be an economic policy of saving capitalism at the expense of all other systems, including political. The American public in general fits Shrumpeter’s assessment of the majority to a t. The 3rd Way paper seems to re-enforce this observation, and as such it may very well be the “progressive” response to the “conservative” policy positions.

Personally, I haven’t reached any solid conclusions on the matter, nor am I capable at this point of taking on everyone from Adam Smith forward in a debate on the end of capitalism. All I am really positive of is their is a lack of any global capitalist vision which incorporates all the variables which we are dealing with.

What If We Install Wings On Them?

Since the Raptor won’t fly maybe we could put their wings on the Strykers and…

Only In America

Would Peggy Noonan not grow up and be a shoplifter.

What’s Happening

I thought I should inform my dear, dear, two readers what is happening with the lower than usual output around here, although arguably the quality is improved, so that you didn’t think that I had decided to blow it all off. Close, but not quite. It isn’t the church ladying either.

I think at this point there really isn’t much need for my remarking on the Republicans tofu politics, If I were to remark on even Ryan’s speech I would note that it was a speech designed to kill time. Political what, without the why is just rhetoric. I’m not sure that everyone in politics either doesn’t know where we are and so has no idea where they wish to go from here, or they know where we are and do not wish to tell the people where they intend to go with the policies that they are proposing.

As far as Democratic politics goes, the masthead pretty much says it all.

I have thought to put Occupy Wall Street et al into perspective, using the Cartesian plane with left right on the X axis and the 99%/1% on the why axis since to my mind that is probably the closest analogy to the reality of any economic and political systems. As per habit, I suppose I also bend the thing into a sphere so that I can visualize the whole in as complex a manner as I perceive it actually is. I think it simplifies without over simplifying most human systems.